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Clapper: Back-Channel Comms a “Long-Standing Practice” of Administrations

Obama’s director of national intelligence noted that sitting administrations have long established “back-channel communications,” but such communications from presidential transitions are unusual.

James Clapper, President Obama’s director of national intelligence, said on CNN on Tuesday that establishing back-channel communications with Russia “is a long-standing practice.”

The Washington Post reported Friday that Jared Kushner, President Trump’s son-in-law and key advisor, tried to communicate with Moscow through back-channels.

Clapper qualified his statement by pointing out that it was usually only “sitting administrations” that establish these lines of communications. He added that his concern with the report stems more from the fact that the Trump administration had not yet taken power.

“I think it’s legitimate to establish contacts to meet and greet people and all that,” he said.

Clapper said that the contents of the conversation between Kushner and the Russians would determine the propriety of the communications.